The UFC has a serious problem with sexual violence toward women and hate speech toward the LGBT community that needs a swift and strong official response. Lately, there has been a string of sexually violent messages coming from UFC fighters and yet the organization has been inconsistent at best when handling the issue. And their history of anti-gay comments is, unfortunately, a long one.
It is time for the UFC to enact a code of conduct -- much like other professional sports leagues -- and hold its athletes accountable.
Recently, top UFC fighter Forrest Griffin tweeted that "rape is the new missionary.” Less than a month later, during a pre-fight press conference fighter Rashad Evans threatened, "I’m going to put my hands on you worse than that dude did them other kids at Penn State” These things apparently come in threes, because the day before Evans' comments, fellow fighter Miguel Torres tweeted, “If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone like surprises."
To many in the mixed martial arts community and the media, the UFC's handling of these incidents exposes the real thought process behind how the UFC: It's all about the money. Torres (who was fired) was expendable, but Evans is a big draw and headliner, and therefore seemingly too important to discipline. Interestingly, Torres has been re-hired, which just makes the initial reaction seem more like a publicity stunt to tame criticism than a true and decisive message to end such actions from athletes who are supposed to be professionals.
It's time for the UFC to issue an official statement condemning these recent hateful, violence outbursts and commit to developing a professional code of conduct for its fighters. If the UFC wants to be in prime time like other big league sports -- and their new $700 million deal with FOX Sports is sure opening the door -- then you have to act like the big leagues.
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